You know you’ve seen that one triathlete that is just way too serious and would rather pass you like you’re standing still on the bike than talk to you in transition. Jerks are everywhere. They don’t just lurk at triathlons. But when you are crammed into transition setting up your gear, sometimes you just can’t avoid them.
Here is a handy triathlete categorization to remember for your next race. Not every athlete will fit in each group exactly and you may have a lot of attributes that cross types. There are exceptions to everything. You will get a triathlete that pretty much finishes near the top of every event and just truly loves the sport and is happy to be there. They might have raced for 15 years but they act like it’s the first time. For generality, here it is.
Type 4: the happy-go-lucky athlete
This is the happy-go-lucky athlete. For the most part they don’t care where they place and who they beat. They are just happy to finish. They are usually newer to the sport and just getting into the scene. Sometimes they are in awe of the whole process and sometimes appear lost in transition during setup and sometimes during the race. They meander about before the start asking questions of other athletes such as, “so where do we take off our wetsuit to change into our bike clothes?” You might even see them drop the wetsuit in transition bearing all and changing into their biking clothes. At times, Type 4 might be in the way other triathletes, but it’s all inadvertent. Generally they mean no harm but they need protection from themselves and a few more events under their belt to get the hang of it.
Type 3: the I'm almost a triathlete athlete
They know the routine. Parking, transition setup and race execution are no problem. They train but it may not be as organized. Generally they are considered middle-of-the-pack finishers. They have yet to commit in whole to the sport to buy a triathlon specific bike and most gear is bought on sale and doesn’t match. There’s nothing wrong with that, but you can easily spot them. They don’t mind chatting in transition before the race, but you see them going through their race in their mind and checking transition to make sure they are set up.
Type 2: Been there, done that athlete
It’s just the next race season to them. Been there, done that. They are now investing time, energy and money into figuring out good nutrition pre, during and post race. They devise a training plan and may have even hired a coach or attend organized training sessions to improve their race. They’re gunning for top 3 age group and usually aren’t around for the social aspect of the sport. A sizable portion of their disposable income goes to the sport as they start realizing the benefits of aero helmets and a true triathlon bike. They don’t much appreciate the Type 4 and 3 athletes but as long as they stay out of the way, they are OK.
Type 1: Super Jerk athlete
This is where the super jerk lives. Rude to anyone that tries to talk to them in transition. They are mentally tuned in and don’t need any distractions. They’ve been racing for a while and they are looking for overall podium finish. Anything less than 3rd means a wasted race day. Money is no object when looking at the latest bike, wheels and tri suit. Type 3 and 4 athletes just get in the way and should race an event the Type 1 is not at. They’re good, they know it, and they are more than happy to show you.
Hopefully you enjoyed this tongue and cheek article about types of athletes. The jerks are everywhere and usually are in the minority. They can be at their first race or 200th. Usually experience does not relate to attitude. But, it’s always fun to people watch and classify your fellow triathletes while you wait for your wave and sizing them up!
Ryan Falkenrath writes the blog falkeetriathlon.blogspot.com, and is a married father of two, owner of three dogs and trying to balance life, work and multisport. Ryan has participated in multisport events since 2001. Ryan is also the Kansas Endurance Sports Examiner and you can read more of his triathlon thoughs HERE. Contact Ryan at: firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on @TriJayhawkRyan
*Expressed opinions are not necessarily that of EverymanTri.com